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View Sample Pages : Altoona Mirror, December 07, 2001

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 7, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania RELIGION HANUKKAH CELEBRATES HISTORIC VICTORY FREE INSIDE NATION: TWO DEAD IN INDIANA FACTORY SHOOTING ► PAGE Cl Despite discounts, big retailers still struggling JJiiiiii How to deal with the stress of the holidaysAltoona mirror © Copyright 2001FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2001 5O0 newsstand QUEEN CRIMES Police restate: No gun utilized BY MAHR LKBKKHNGKK Staff Writer QUEEN — State police at Bedford said again Thursday that a firearm was not used in the crime that led to the murder of Dana Gates and the attack on Lorin Burket "It was not the result of a gunshot wound,” Sgt. Daniel Krauss said. Krauss’ statement comes a day after Lt. Ivan Hoover refused to comment about a court affidavit that conflicts with a statement he made at a Tuesday news conference that no firearm was used. A sworn affidavit police filed Nov. 30 when seeking a search warrant states that Altoona Hospital officials told state police Burket suffered a gunshot w'ound to the face and head. Krauss said police didn’t have the luxury of waiting for conclusive evidence when they told District Justice Erika MeVicker of Schellsburg on the day of the murder why they needed to search the Schellsburg Road home of Gates and Burket. Krauss said Thursday afternoon in a telephone interview that it first appeared a firearm was used in the crime that killed Gates and critically wounded Burket, but police needed a search warrant to verify that and protect what evidence they could uncover at the scene. “In regards to the type of injuries, it first appeared as if one or both were suffering from a gun shot wound,” Krauss said. “We would have needed to know where to look for the projectile if there was one. We needed the search warrant to verify that.” Krauss was asked why the hospital would tell police that Burket suffered a gunshot wound, information that is part of the search warrant application. “We’re relying on information from the medical profession,” he said. “I don’t know what exposure they had to those types of wounds.” Krauss said his experience has been that a gunshot wound could appear externally as blunt force trauma but may be a differenct injury upon further investigation. Please see Crimes/Page A12warn BUSINESS CLIMATE Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Jeremy RetTner of New Enterprise can be seen through a skylight as he w orks on the roof at the Days Inn on Pleasant Valley Boulevard Tuesday. Warm temperatures are great for construction, bad for skiing Wanning lip to winter Below is a comparison of the actual high temperatures this year versus the normal high temperatures for this time of the year Date Actual Normal Dec 5 73 46 B Dec 4 64 41 Dec 3 56 42 Dec 2 50 42 Bk Dec 1 63 43 Nov 30 64 43 BL NOV 29 55 44 lf Nov 28 53 44 HL Nov. 27 49 45 MB Nov 26 54 45 / ■ NOV 25 60 45 Nov 24 57 46 Source AccuWeather Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll By Regina Mazzocco For the Mirror With temperatures reaching the 70-degree mark this week, some local business owners are heading to work with an unseasonable amount of spring in their steps. “If I could go through the winter with no snow and no rain, I’d be happy,” said Ron Harkless, owner of Harkless Construction Inc. in Hollidaysburg. Warm weather, including Wednesday’s high temperature of 73 degrees, has significantly extended the productive season for Harkless and other construction businesses. Without obstacles like frozen ground and frigid temperatures, workers are completing projects faster, said John Degenhardt, co-owner of J & B Builders in Duncansville. “The colder it is, the slower you’re able to work,” he said. The warm temperatures will give way to colder ones next week. According to AccuWeather, the high for Sunday will be 39 degrees, which is normal for this time of year. “It will feel like the dead of winter since we are getting used to the 70-degree temperatures,” AccuWeather meteorologist Scott Homan said. “Ifs been so warm.” Homan said a large area of high pressure off the East Coast and a cold front in the West are combining to produce the unusually mild weather. Please see Climate/Page A9 WAR ON TERRORISM ► Pages Cl, C4 Taliban gives up last city By Kathy Gannon The Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan The Taliban agreed Thursday to surrender Kandahar, their last bastion and birthplace, if their warriors were not punished and safety w;^ guaranteed to leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, who once vowed to fight to the death. America said it would not accept any deal allowing the cleric to go free. The promise to give up the city and begin handing over weapons as early as today marked the* final collapse of the militant movement that imposed strict Islamic rule on Afghanistan for five years. Personal rivalries among anti-Taliban leaders and the fate of Omar still could wreck the fragile agreement. The head of the new Afghan transition government, Hamid Karzai, refused to say whether Omar would be arrested as Washington has demanded. Defense Secretary Donald ll. Rumsfeld said the United States would not stand for any agreement that lets the Taliban leader go free and “live in dignity.” Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said radio intercepts had picked up no communications by Omar in three days and that he appeared to have lost contact with senior Taliban commanders. “It seems that the final collapse of the Taliban is now' upon us.” said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush’s closest ally in the war. “That is a total vindication of the strategy that we have worked out from the beginning.” Please see Taliban/Page A3 Afghan refugees from Kandahar enter a U.N. camp set up at the Afghan-Pakistani border in Chaman Thursday. Improved Pa. test scores earn $25,000 for Irving Elementary By Jay Young Staff Writer Irving Elementary School students told the state education secretary Thursday that they’re proud of their school. Secretary Charles Zogby said he is too and gave the students a $25,000 cash reward for their efforts. “When they were in fifth grade last year, they did a bang-up job to win you that money,” Zogby said of the sixth-graders sitting on the % COMING DEC. 16: A complete list of area school awards and a look at how Irving Elementary succeeded Zogby school’s stage in front of their peers. Zogby was in town to name the McAuliffe Heights program at Irving Elementary a Governor’s School of Achievement. Seventeen schools received a cash award for boosting state math and reading test scores by at least 50 points per year for three years. Principal Patrick Labriola credited the school’s faculty and students for endorsing the school philosophy, which is driven by a contract signed by parents whose children are selected to attend classes there. The money is a portion of the $21 million in performance funding grants awarded Thursday to schools Please see Scores/Page A12 Simmons PEARL HARBOR: 60 YEARS LATER Hawaii survivors reflect on Dec. 7 and Sept. 11 Hughes By JANIS L. MAGIN The Associated Press HONOLULU — Just eight minutes passed from when the duty officer woke Clark J. Simmons from his bunk on the USS Utah until the ship sank from Japanese torpedoes Dec. 7,1941. In that time, the 20-year-old mess attendant scrambled to the deck, jumped into Pearl Harbor and swam to safety on Ford Island. ► INSIDE: Columnists offer thoughts on date of infamy/ Page A8 ► SATURDAY: Local ceremony pays tribute to survivors, victims Nearly 60 years later, Simmons watched from the living room window of his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment as a hijacked jet flew into the second tower of the World Trade Center. Please see Survivors/Page A4 DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 7    2291000050    4 BIG FOUR ■HHH %    7 ti) 6 Lottery numbers, A2 « H WEATHER Partly sunny, 54° ■ Forecast. A2 USED CAM CLEARANCE ON NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31st! 2)&7h Chrysler - Plymouth - Jeep 1549 Pleasant Valley Blvd. Altoona, PA    943-6167 Credit approval required. Laredo Sport not eligible. ( o LOCAL 0 NATION Business A9 Classifieds C6-12 Hospitals A11 Movies C5 Obituaries All Opinion A8 n Lire Q SPORTS Comics D5 Community news D2 Local B4 Puzzles D4 Scoreboard B5 Television D4 INSIDE IN SPORTS Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward’s blocking is garnering attention throughout the NFL, including from some players’ wives. PAGE Bl The Associated Press ;